With the action sequences being the only element of Sinbad displaying any consistency so far, you would think a second consecutive episode without any action would get us worrying.
However, the latest instalment of Sky1’s epic fantasy removes any left-over resentment from last week’s episode with a chilling and compelling storyline that is not for the very young.
This week, the Providence and its crew are stranded in the middle of the ocean in blistering heat with supplies running dangerously low. But on the plus side, Sinbad does not have to worry about that nasty little curse wrapped around his neck as he barely mentions land, let alone stands on it. Of the crew, Cook suffers most of all, appearing to hallucinate and blabbering incoherently.
While some of the early stages of the episode provide some comic relief, the sinister undertones running throughout suggest that Sinbad does have talent in its production team who know what it takes to set a consistent tone.
Despite being rationed to one mouthful of water a day, our heroes seem very spritely, dashing around the ship like agitated children wanting to go home from a supermarket. Fortunately, this does not last too long to spoil any authenticity (used in the broadest sense of the word).
Before things threaten to get boring, a strange ship mysteriously appears and of course, Sinbad decides to investigate. The mystery ship is deserted with the exception of many maggots and a sleeping old man (guest star Timothy Spall), who goes by the name of Anicetus.
As Sinbad and the others try to uncover Anicetus’s identity, we see the more vulnerable sides to our heroes including one touching moment where Sinbad sees an image of his deceased brother in the flames of a fire. While Elliot Knight gives another solid performance as Sinbad, Spall steals the show as the kind, old man who takes a shine to Nala.
The apparent kindness shown soon delves into something more sinister as Anicetus is none other than Death himself, and wants Nala as his bride as part of a pact made with Nala’s ancestors many years before to save their civilisation.
As Death and Nala proceed through the lowest attended wedding in television history, they are interrupted by Sinbad and Gunnar who are determined to rescue Nala.
Although the finale, which involves butterflies being used as missiles, feels unimaginative and hurried, it does not spoil what is without doubt the best episode of Sinbad yet and hopefully will encourage audiences to keep faith in the series.
Aired at 7pm on Sunday 29th July 2012 on Sky1.
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